So now that I’m rowing down at Radley, I’m debating whether or not to get a bike. I’m not sure that it’s really the kind of decision that requires a pros-and-cons list (usually reserved for Major Decisions like whether to go out on a second date with the nice but twitchy boy, or whether I should get bangs) but it’s too early to read the abortion literature for my Medical Law class, so here goes:
- If I cycle, I can avoid getting the bus to Radley. I’m yet to step foot on an Oxford bus but if they’re anything like Sydney buses, they will be approximately 20% kind old folk, 10% normal non-pensioners, and 70% human detritus. So far in my bus-taking years I have: had my face licked, been asked to hold a bag of used baby wipes, been ogled so much that I have checked to see that I am in fact wearing a skirt, and been nagged to go out with a guy promising to score me free meat trays from Costco (“Ok, well maybe not rump steak, but definitely cold cuts and Frankfurt sausages. Ok…maybe not the meat trays, but definitely any shop-soiled croissant trays.”)
- I can improve my uneasy relationship with bikes. I never really rode as a kid. I was more a Razor scooter kind of girl (my Dad replaced the wheels with light up ones and I was a big show-off, so just did loops around the neighbourhood being all, “Oh yeah. LED, bitches”). I bought a cappuccino-coloured Papillionaire a couple of years ago (lured in by the vintage European aesthetic), but stopped riding it when I realised it takes more than bike + heels + curtain tassel earrings/turban/fire bellow-shaped fanny pack to confer Catherine Baba stylishness. Now my Papillionaire just sits under the house holding bags of onions and drying out garlic braids. But I should probably try to get to a point where I’m using bikes as more than just veggie racks.
- I can’t help but be put off by the incredible abuse that bike riders cop. A few days ago I saw a lorry driver pelt a cyclist with a bread roll. To be sure, my ideal world is one where baked goods are being lobbed at me, but in my fantasy I’m catching and consuming, not ending up in a painful explosion of crumbs.
- General maintenance and finding somewhere to chain a bike around here is a hassle. Signs in Oxford alternate between ‘Keep of the lawns’, ‘Do not feed the deer’ and ‘Bikes chained here will be removed/No bikes/Don’t chain your bike here/Seriously if you attempt to leave your bike here for even a second we’ll bring the full force of the law down on your sorry arse’. Competition for chaining space around those little tree prisons is therefore fierce.
- I’d be a tentative rider, which really raises the chances of me ending up as human gravel rash. About 70% of the cyclists I know have at one point ended up through a car window, so I don’t like my odds. Riding a bike seems convenient, but grievous bodily injury doesn’t.
Argh. I think I’ve talked myself out of it. I might just risk the face licks.